Panellists and Trainers 2015

  • Adem Ademi
    Adem Ademi worked as a programme manager from 2012 to 2014 at the Roma Initiatives office in Budapest. Before joining the Open Society Foundations, he was Programme Coordinator of the Decade of Roma Inclusion at the Secretariat Foundation. In 2012, Adem served as a member of the advisory board on youth
    at the Council of Europe and as a certified trainer, he delivered more than 30 training sessions on national and international youth policies. Adem was also elected as the advisor to the Macedonian government serving as the national coordinator of the Decade of Roma Inclusion. After completing a one-year course at the Macedonian Institute for Media, Adem worked as a journalist for National A1 Television. Adem holds a bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Sciences and Technologies from SEE University of Tetovo in Macedonia.
  • Adi Sinani
    Adi Sinani is Programme Officer for Roma Rights at Civil Rights Defenders. He holds a law degree from Novi Sad Faculty of European Legal and Political Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy. Previously, he has worked for the OSCE Mission in Serbia on minority integration and non-discrimination programme activities. Adi has also worked with a number of national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations on amendments to the legislation pertaining to protection and promotion of national minority rights, ensuring equal participation and non-discrimination. As of 2013, he is an OSCE certified trainer on combating hate crimes.
  • Ales Bialiatski
    For over 30 years, Ales Bialiatski has pursued a path of continuous struggle to campaign for democracy and human rights. In 1996 Ales Bialiatski founded the Human Rights Centre Viasna, protecting the rights of civic and political activists in Belarus. The organisation is at the very forefront of human rights protection in Belarus. Throughout the years provided legal assistance to thousands of people and disseminated information on the human rights situation in Belarus. In 2011 Ales was arrested and accused of tax evasion. Prior to his arrest Ales had been raising funds to help repressed human rights defenders and their families. On 24 November, he was found guilty on trumped up charges and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, in a trial with clear political overtones. During his prison sentence, Ales was prevented from communicating freely with the outside world. After 1052 days behind bars, he was released on 21 June 2014.
  • Andre Banks
    Andre Banks has spent most of the last decade harnessing the power of storytelling and technology to build powerful social movements in the US and around the world. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of All Out. Andre is also Senior Advisor at Purpose, where he was formerly Partner and Director of Strategy. Andre has advised dozens of organisations on fundraising, audience engagement and strategic communications. Andre also serves on the board of, a leading civil rights organisation building a powerful voice for African Americans in US politics. Recently named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative groups in the world 2015.
  • Andrea Čolak
    Andrea Čolak has a degree in International Law from the Law School University of Belgrade. As an Open Society Institute fellow in 2004/05, she attended the undergraduate exchange programme at the Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, USA. She has been working on Roma rights issues since 2007 and from 2009 – 2012 she was Executive Director of the Minority Rights Centre (MRC), a Belgrade-based human and minority rights NGO. During her work with MRC, she was involved in project management and monitoring implementation of Roma related policies and anti-discrimination legislation, particularly in relation to hate crimes, discrimination in education, health care and housing. She has completed a two-year legal training programme at a law office in Belgrade and has experience in representation before domestic courts and administrative bodies. She joined the ERRC in May 2012 as a legal consultant for Western Balkans and has been working on developing and implementing legal strategy, handling selected cases, legal research and legal and policy review.
  • Angela Frolov
    Angela Frolov is Lobby and Advocacy Program Coordinator of the information centre, GENDERDOC-M, the only NGO that actively advocates for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people in Moldova. She has been working with the organisation for eight years, during which she has established cooperation with human rights NGOs, submitted reports on violations of LGBT rights, including to UPR, participated in anti-discrimination campaigns, and taken active part at debates and open discussions on LGBT issues. Angela has also participated in strategic litigation cases.
  • Ben Leather
    Ben Leather is Advocacy and Communications Manager at International Service for Human Rights – ISHR. He joined the organisation in January 2014 after five years working for the protection of at-risk human rights defenders with Peace Brigades International (PBI) in Mexico. As PBI Mexico’s Advocacy Coordinator, he was involved in drafting the law for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, as well as designing PBI’s first advocacy training programme for activists. At ISHR, Ben carries out advocacy at the UN Human Rights Council, coordinates training courses in international advocacy for human rights defenders and is jointly responsible for all communications.
  • Benedicte Berner
    Benedicte Berner is a media analyst and Chairperson of the Board of Civil Rights Defenders. Benedicte is a consultant working with a media project in Russia. She also trains journalists in the Middle East and Northern Africa. She formerly worked for the IRC and IOM in Moscow, and she was Director of International Issues at the European Institute for the Media in Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • Brittis Edman
    Brittis Edman has documented and analysed the human rights situation in Southeast Asia since the mid 90s, in particular Cambodia, where she lived for seven years. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders in September 2010, Brittis worked as a Southeast Asia researcher at Amnesty International for five years. She has also worked for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Save the Children. She holds university degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science.
  • Carl Gershman
    Carl Gershman is President of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private grant-making institution, with a mission to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through non-governmental efforts. In 1999, he took the lead in launching the World Movement for Democracy, a global network of democracy practitioners and scholars.
  • Crina Marina Morteanu
    Crina Marina Morteanu holds a law degree and is currently working at the Centre for Legal Studies and Human Rights. She has worked with both national and international NGOs in the field of human rights, including Roma rights. In 2011, she was a fellow at the Open Society Institute in Washington D.C. where she worked on issues related to criminal justice across the US, with particular relevance to Roma in the country. Crina has also worked with a Hungarian organisation focusing on the right to education of Roma children, where she coordinated the implementation of a regional project on the desegregation of Romani children in Europe. She is co-author of a handbook on tackling the segregation of Romani children in nurseries and primary schools.
  • Daniel O’Clunaigh
    Daniel O’Clunaigh is a facilitator and trainer in security and protection strategies for human rights defenders. At Tactical Tech, he regularly facilitates digital security trainings for human rights defenders, as well as contributing to the creation of security guides including the “Community Focus” series in Security in-a-Box. At present, he is leading Tactical Tech’s “holistic security” project which aims to better integrate the domains of digital security, overall security management and psychosocial well-being of human rights defenders.
  • David Keyes
    David Keyes is Executive Director of Advancing Human Rights and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He has been called a “pioneer in online activism” by The New York Times and the “IT-boy of human rights agitation” by Buzzfeed’s Middle East correspondent. In 2014, David launched, a crowd-sourcing human rights platform, connecting activists from dictatorships with people around the world with skills to help them. Keyes has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera among many other media outlets.
  • Diana Nyman
    Diana Nyman is a Roma expert and a Swedish civil society Roma activist. For more than 20 years, she has worked for the rights of the Roma in Sweden and to improve their situation and living conditions. Combatting discrimination and prejudice in society and pushing the government to take effective measures to ensure the rights of the Roma has been at the forefront of her struggle. Diana has worked locally in the city of Gothenburg and has been the Chair of the Roma Council Gothenburg. She has served as an adviser to government authorities such as the Equality Ombudsman and the Living History Forum. She has been able to influence government policy through participating as a Roma expert on a number of government committees. Diana is currently a member of the Commission Against Anti-Gypsyism, which was established in 2014, chaired by former Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg.
  • Eric S Johnson
    Eric S Johnson has been networking computers for 30 years, supporting independent media in over 25 developing countries, and working to improve cyber policy, combat cyber censorship, and bolster activists’ cyber security. He was architecting and helping to launch the Global Internet Policy Initiative (and its newer sister, the Global Internet Policy Project), the five-year-old Open Internet Project, the Information Security Coalition, and the about-to-be inaugurated Advanced Global Analysis of ICT Censorship and Network Surveillance Technology Transfer (AGAINST).
  • Erik Jennische
    Erik Jennische is Programme Director for Latin America at Civil Rights Defenders. He holds a master’s degree in Sociology, specialising in democratisation processes. He has worked with democracy promotion in Latin America as well as the Balkans and Eastern Europe. From 2010 – 2013 he worked as a journalist in Brazil. Before joining Civil Rights Defenders in 2014 he was a researcher at Swedwatch.
  • Eva Blum-Dumontet
    Eva Blum-Dumontet is Advocacy Officer at Privacy International in London. She works investigating and documenting surveillance in South America, North Africa and Thailand. As a journalist, she became interested in understanding the impact of privacy and surveillance issues on individuals, as she realised the importance of securing communications with her sources.
  • Eva Zillén
    Eva Zillén is Senior Advisor at the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (Sweden). She has worked together with and in support of female human rights defenders since she, together with others, started Kvinna till Kvinna in 1993. As Kvinna till Kvinna works specifically in conflict and post conflict regions security has been on the organisations agenda from the start. Ms Zillén has worked with different parts of the organisations programme, including working in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1995 – 1999. One of her present tasks at the organization is to work with WHRD and security.
  • Hanna Hallin
    Hanna Hallin is Global Social Sustainability Manager of H&M Group, based at the global head office in Stockholm. She leads the social team at the sustainability department responsible for developing and following up global strategies and goals such as the fair living wages, industrial relations and human rights management. Hanna Hallin has a background within the non-profit sector and before joining H&M in 2012, she was the Executive Director of a Swedish think tank on civil society. More then 20 specialists are working at the H&M sustainability department, consisting of three teams; the social, the environmental and the anti-corruption teams.
  • Jamshid Gaziyev
    Jamshid Gaziyev is the Human Rights Officer at the Special Procedures Branch of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), where he leads the team supporting the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Prior to joining OHCHR, Jamshid worked in political affairs at the UN Office in Vienna and served as Policy Adviser in development and conflict at Global Witness, a London-based human rights NGO. He holds a master’s degree in International Law and International Relations from Lancaster University and a PhD in Social Sciences from Durham University in the United Kingdom.
  • Johanna Westeson
    Johanna Westeson is a human rights lawyer at Civil Rights Defenders. She holds a law degree from Uppsala University and a Master of Laws from Columbia University in New York, with a focus on human rights. She previously worked at the international human rights organisation Center for Reproductive Rights, where she directed the Europe programme and, among other tasks, litigated cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee. Johanna has also been the Latin America and Human Rights Education Officer at the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights. She has worked with Sida in Bolivia and as a human rights consultant for the World Health Organisation.
  • John Stauffer
    John Stauffer is Legal Director at Civil rights Defenders. He holds a Master of Laws degree, specialised in human rights. He previously worked for various Swedish equality bodies, including the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination and the Equality Ombudsman. He has also worked for the OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina as Director for the Human Rights Department.
  • Jolanta Cihanovica
    Jolanta Cihanovica is a human rights activist from Latvia, a co-founder of the only Latvian LGBT organisation “Mozaika” and of the resource centre for people affected by HIV/AIDS “Dia+Logs”. She is a clinical psychologist, as well as an internationally acclaimed organisational consultant. She is also a trainer with 15 years of experience in developing and providing training programmes, both in Latvia and abroad. Jolanta runs trainings in the field of enhancing personal and organisational wellbeing and media communication.
  • Jonas Lindgren
    Jonas Lindgren has been a correspondent and foreign editor for the Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå, and has experience from Swedish Television and Reuters. He is a senior advisor specialised in media relations, the creation of successful messages and crisis management.
  • Khalid Ibrahim
    Khalid Ibrahim is a certified specialist in the field of human rights with more than 21 years of experience. He has worked as Protection Coordinator at Front Line Defenders and also as Deputy Director & Co-Director for the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). He focuses on supporting and protecting human rights defenders in the Gulf Region and in neighbouring countries.
  • Kseniya Kirichenko
    Kseniya Kirichenko is a Russian human rights lawyer and legal researcher. She has been involved in LGBT human rights advocacy since 2007 and works now as the Strategic Litigation and International Advocacy Program Coordinator at “Coming Out” LGBT Group, as well as Director of the Transgender Legal Defense Project. Kseniya is also a member of the Board of the Russian LGBT Network, an inter-regional human rights NGO working for equality of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, and Senior Lecturer at Novosibirsk State University.
  • Maina Kiai
    Maina Kiai is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association. Maina Kiai has spent the last 20 years campaigning for human rights and constitutional reform in Kenya. He won national reputation for his courageous and effective advocacy against official corruption and impunity following the violence that convulsed in Kenya in 2008, causing thousands of deaths.
  • Marcin de Kaminski
    Marcin de Kaminski has a long background in combining Internet and technology with social movements. With more than 15 years of experience in grass root mobilisation and communication, he is always looking for efficient methods to use techniques to help good causes – with organisational platforms such as Yelah, Indymedia SE, Piratbyran, Telecomix and the pro-internet think tank, the Julia Group. Marcin has been one of Sweden’s most vocal digital rights defenders and has also been engaged as an Internet researcher with a focus on socio legal norms, sub cultures and online activism. He is currently working as Policy Specialist on freedom of expression and ICT at Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
  • Marie Månson
    Marie Månson is Programme Director for Human Rights Defenders at Risk at Civil Rights Defenders. She started working for the organisation in 1997, first as a programme officer for the Western Balkans and then as Office Manager. She has also worked as Programme Director for the Western Balkans. Previously, she worked for the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. Marie holds a master’s degree in International Relations.
  • Michel Forst
    In 2014, Michel Forst was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. Michael has extensive experience on human rights issues, including human rights defenders, the rights of children with disabilities, extreme poverty and the elderly. He has held a number of leading positions within the field of human rights, including the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, the Cimade (Comité inter-mouvements auprès des évacués), UNESCO and Amnesty International in France. From 2008 – 2013, he was the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti. In 2012 – 2013 he was Chair of the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. He is also a former member of the board of the International Service for Human Rights and a founding member of Front Line Defenders.
  • Miranda Patrucic
    Miranda Patrucic is a lead investigative reporter and regional editor with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and at the Investigative Dashboard. She is an international speaker who has trained investigative reporters, anti-corruption groups and the police in several countries around the world. She was a lead reporter on projects exposing unholy alliances between government, business and organised crime in Montenegro as well as crimes and corruption involving First Bank of Montenegro that uncovered massive misuse of public funds. She was part of the team that reported on how the Bosnian government bought an apartment for the prime minister, which led to his indictment and resignation in 2009.
  • Natalia Taubina
    Natalia Taubina is Director of the Public Verdict Foundation, an organisation offering legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers in Russia. Previously, she has been involved in the work of the Russian Research Centre for Human Rights. Natalia is a member of the Expert Council under the Ombudsman in the Russian Federation and is also an expert of the Presidential Council on Development of Civil Society and Human Rights. Natalia is specialised in international human rights standards and mechanisms, NGO management, and evaluation.
  • Nigina Bakhrieva
    Nigina Bakhrieva is Director of the Public Foundation “Nota Bene”, a Dushanbe based NGO. She is also the founder and former Director of the Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law of Tajikistan and leader of the Anti-Torture Coalition, comprising of 12 leading human rights organisations in the country. In her various capacities, Nigina has worked towards the abolition of the death penalty in Tajikistan. She provides training for human rights defenders, lawyers, prosecutors and judges throughout Central Asia on the prevention of torture and advice on the preparation of individual complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee.
  • Pornpen Khongkachonkiet
    Pornpen Khongkachonkiet works as Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation in Thailand. She previously worked with FORUM-ASIA, a regional Asian human rights organisation based in Bangkok, where she focused on areas of national and international protection for marginalised people in Thailand and in the broader Asian region. Pornpen holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Development from Silapakorn University and a master’s degree in South East Asia History from Thammasat University in Thailand.
  • Robert Hårdh
    Robert Hårdh is Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders. He started working for the organisation as a human rights lawyer in 1999. In 2000, he was appointed Executive Director. He holds a Master of Laws degree from Uppsala University, specialising in human rights. He has past experience within Amnesty International as an active member in the organisation’s lawyers group in Sweden and was a board member in the Swedish section from 1998 – 2000. Robert also is a board member of the Expo foundation, which is a privatelyowned research foundation founded in 1995, with the aim of studying and mapping anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and racist tendencies in society.
  • Rory Byrne
    Rory Byrne is the CEO and Founder of Security First. The organisation is currently building “Umbrella,” an open source mobile tool to help journalists, activists and aid workers to manage their security on the move. Security First also trains high-risk journalists and human rights defenders in advanced security methods such as counter-surveillance, risk management, secure communications, source protection, preventing insider threats and dealing with arrests. Rory previously helped establish the human rights organisation Videre – the world leader in the gathering, verification and distribution of covert camera footage for human rights.
  • Sam Gregory
    Sam Gregory is Program Director at WITNESS, which trains and supports activists and citizens around the world to use video safely, ethically, and effectively to expose human rights abuses. He leads WITNESS’s work on the award-winning ObscuraCam and InformaCam tools and he also launched the Webby-nominated Human Rights Channel on YouTube. He has worked on impactful campaigns worldwide and innovative training programs, such as the Video Advocacy Institute. He was the lead editor on ‘Video for Change: A Guide for Advocacy and Activism’, and he also teaches on human rights and participatory media at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2012 Sam was a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and in 2013 an Institute for the Future fellow, working on strategies for technology-enabled live and immersive witnessing and task routing for human rights activism.
  • Saman Zarifi
    Saman Zarifi is Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific at International Commission of Jurists’ (ICJ). Prior to joining ICJ, he served as Director for Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International. From 2000 – 2008, he worked with Human Rights Watch, where he was Deputy Director of the Asia division. From
    1997 – 2000, he was Senior Research Fellow at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he co-edited the seminar book “Liability of Multinational Corporations under International Law” (Kluwer 2000) as well as several other publications on the subject. After graduating from Cornell Law School in 1993, Saman practiced as
    a corporate litigator in Los Angeles. He was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and received a BA from Cornell University in 1990 and an Ll.M. in Public International Law from New York University School of Law in 1997.
  • Shui-Meng Ng
    Shui-Meng Ng works with the Sombath Initiative, is from Singapore and has lived in Laos since 1986. She has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Hawaii
    and has a long history of involvement in aid and development issues. From 1976 to 1986, Shui-Meng was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. She has worked with UNICEF in Laos, China and Timor-Leste from 1986 to 2008 and has also served as a UNICEF Representative in Timor-Leste from 2004 to 2008.
  • Tabitha Netuwa
    Tabitha Netuwa is the Protection and Security Management Manager at the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), based in Nsambya, Kampala in Uganda. Her main role at EHAHRDP entails managing the protection programme, which supports human rights defenders at risk. The program undertakes training clinics in security management and digital security. Tabitha has been involved in trial observation missions in cases where human rights defenders face legal challenges as a result of their human rights work. She has worked with research projects to assess the situation of human rights defenders and been engaged in advocacy at national level. She has also worked with the ACHPR, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the European Union.
  • Vanja Ćalović
    Vanja Calovic is Executive Director of the Network for the Affirmation of NGO Sector – MANS, in Podgorica, Montenegro. Vanja has a BSc in International Economics from the University of Montenegro and is currently completing her MSc in Public Sector Economy. She has a strong professional background within human rights work, having held her current position at MANS since 2000. She has also worked for the European Commission and United Nations Development Fund.
  • Zlatan Music
    Zlatan Music currently serves as the Development and Communications Officer at the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He works on projects, which promote transparency of the domestic judiciary and accountability of the media. Previously, he has undertaken several contracts within the press and public information offices of leading international organisations, such as the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the OSCE Mission to BiH, and the European Union Special Representative. He has also cooperated with the Internews project to strengthen independent media in BiH.